AAGPBL Interview - Louise Erickson
Louise Erickson was an All-Star in the AAGPBL in 1949 and 1950. She took some time to answer our survey.
I had no previous formal or informal training in softball or baseball. Two of my uncles played weekend baseball and I was the tomboy shagging balls in the outfield.
2) Describe your signing.
On June 2, 1948, I reported th Chicago for a tryout for the AAGPBL. In two weeks the tryout coach made a pitcher out of me. I pitched one exhibition and won it 24-2. I signed my $55 a week contract at the Wrigley Building and was assigned to the Racine Belles for the season (I would make $70 a week with Rockford in 1949 and 1950).
3) What position(s) did you play? Which teams did you play for?
My only position in my three years of playing was as a pitcher. My Racine Belles record was 1-0, and with the Rockford Peaches it was 36-17 in two seasons - that included the playoffs. We were league champs in '49 and '50 and I was fortunate to be one of the starting pitchers both seasons.
4) What was the best thing about playing pro ball?
Meeting good friends, travelling and of course, the money. My folks didn't have a car or much money, so the only place I got to go was to my grandparents farm to work every summer.
5) What was the worst thing about playing ball?
Everything was great, except the bus rides to the four state destinations. I could never sleep on the bus, so those trips got boring after a 126 game schedule - all night games.
6) What was the highlight of your career?
Just being selected to play in the league was great. Coming from a town of 1900 and playing with the best ballplayers in the country was unbelievable. Being a starting pitcher on two championship teams was great, also.
7) Who were the best players you played with or faced? Comments?
I guess my teammates had to be among the best because they won four championships in the eleven years the league existed.
8) Do you think the fans and press accepted you more as the years wore on? (Describe how it was when you started. Did increased exposure change some minds?)
In the three years I played, we had great press coverage and the writers were eager for interviews. The fans were super - we would sometimes be invited to a dinner at their homes.
9. Who were your favorite big league ballplayers during the era you played in?
I was alwaus a Cubs fan because my Grandpa and I would listen to the games on WGN radio.
10) Do you follow big league ball now? If so, how do you think it compares with your day?
I'm not a great fan of major league games since they struck about ten years ago. It's all a big money game now. We played for the love of the game, not the money.
11) Should women have their own pro league, should they play in the majors, or should we have both?
Women should play in their own league. No women in the majors.
12) How do you feel about the Silver Bullets?
If you could get another team of women to travel with the Bullets and play exhibition games around the country it might work. Not against men's teams.
13) Briefly describe your life since your pro career ended.
I got married in November 1950 to Burt Sauer - we still are. We have a daughter and a son and two grandsons. When the kids started school I worked in a bowling alley, grocery store and as a meter reader until 1982 when we both retired. My husband was a postmaster.
14) What advice do you have for young women who want to become pro ballplayers?
Work hard, concentrate, stay away from drugs and smoking. If you have the talent, you should make it.
15) Any other comments or memories
It was the best three years of my life. We have a players association and have our own phone and address directory, plus we have had reunions since 1982. We are like one big family, when get together. Last September we celebrated the sixty year anniversary of the AAGPBL out in Cooperstown - it was great.
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